The 10 Best U.S. Cities for Boaters

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The 10 Best U.S. Cities for Boaters

10 Best U.S. Cities for Boaters

Do you have friends constantly posting on Facebook about how much fun they are having on the water this summer? Do you suffer from Instagram-envy every time you check your feed to see ANOTHER friend catching rays on a boat? It’s OK to be a little jealous fish about missing out on all of the water fun. We are here to let you know that there are cities out there made for people who love to be near the water, so don’t let your dreams of waterfront property sail away from you just yet!

According to Discover Boating, more than four in five Americans say being around water relaxes them and what’s more is an estimated 87 million Americans go boating each year. Whether you’re into boating or just someone who loves the water, you’ve probably dreamed of owning property on a river, lake or ocean. To help guide you in the right direction, Redfin worked with our friends at Discover Boating to determine which major metropolitan areas have the most waterfront property for sale, the longest boating seasons and the largest boating communities.

“There’s nothing more fun and relaxing than life on the water,” said Carl Blackwell, president of Discover Boating, a national campaign to help people get on the water and started in boating. “Boating is a great way to disconnect from the stress of everyday life while close to home, so it makes sense that people gravitate towards real estate on the water.” according to Carl Blackwell.

If you want to hop on board with a waterfront property of your own in any of these areas, contact a Redfin real estate agent to dive headfirst into searching for that home of your dreams. Home can be wherever you anchor that boat!

Without further ado, here are the top 10 places to live and play on the water:

1. Naples, FL

  • Portion of Listings on Waterfront:  37.9%
  • Median Sale Price of a Waterfront Home: $468,750
  • Months with Average High Temperature of 60+: 12
  • Total Number of Registered Boats in Florida: 873,507

With so many canals and lakes in South Florida, it is no surprise that a place like Naples took the number one spot on this list. This area has a staggering amount of waterfront listings available with more than 13,000 waterfront properties on the market. Between the amount of water for the residents to enjoy and great weather all year round, it makes sense that so many people in this area are into boating.

“Because the weather is great throughout the year, a lot of residents are into some type of water sport,” said Tara Olson, a Redfin real estate agent in Naples . “There is also a great mix of wildlife in this area. Don’t be surprised if you’re out on a boating adventure and you spot a family of manatees or dolphins!”

2. Baton Rouge, LA

  • Portion of Listings on Waterfront:  12.2%
  • Median Sale Price of a Waterfront Home: $273,600
  • Months with Average High Temperature of 60+: 8
  • Total Number of Registered Boats in Louisiana: 307,059

Baton Rouge may seem like an unsuspecting candidate for a boating city, but this area hugs a portion of the Mississippi River and isn’t far from False River Lake, which is about 3,000 acres in size and 10.5 miles long! It’s incredibly popular for boating and for recreational water sports like water skiing and jet skiing.

“Baton Rouge is a great place for any avid athlete, including those who like to get in a water workout,” says Caren Morgan, a Redfin real estate agent in Baton Rouge. “This area is a hidden treasure for anyone who loves to kayak, canoe or paddleboard.”

3. Jacksonville, FL

  • Portion of Listings on Waterfront:  17.2%
  • Median Sale Price of a Waterfront Home: $287,000
  • Months with Average High Temperature of 60+: 12
  • Total Number of Registered Boats in Florida: 873,507

Between the Atlantic Ocean and the St. Johns River, there is plenty to do in Jacksonville for anyone who just loves being on the water. Sailing, surfing, kayaking, paddleboarding and fishing are just some of the activities offered in this area, and the weather is fantastic all year round!

“Most of my clients look for properties where they can keep a boat. If a homebuyer doesn’t have a boat, they are usually planning on getting one if they are looking to live in Jacksonville,” says Debra Pappas, a Redfin real estate agent in Jacksonville. “We have a big boating community because the St. Johns River runs right through the city. It’s also a big boating town because most of the canals, rivers and lakes will lead you right to the ocean, even if you’re located all the way on the western side of Jacksonville. All waters lead to the ocean!”

4. Orlando, FL

  • Portion of Listings on Waterfront: 21.2%
  • Median Sale Price of a Waterfront Home: $254,900
  • Months with Average High Temperature of 60+: 12
  • Total Number of Registered Boats in Florida: 873,507

It isn’t too surprising that Orlando made the list—this city if flooded with lakes! While not all of the lakes can be used for recreational water sports, many of them do offer activities like jet skiing and paddle boarding.

“I can see why Orlando made the list because we have lakes everywhere,” said MaryDell Penny, a Redfin real estate agent in Orlando. “Anyone looking for waterfront property in this city is also looking for a home with a dock so they can easily access the water whenever they want. People want to be able to take advantage of the accessibility to waterfront.”

5. Edison, NJ

  • Portion of Listings on Waterfront: 9.9%
  • Median Sale Price of a Waterfront Home: $425,500
  • Months with Average High Temperature of 60+: 7
  • Total Number of Registered Boats in New Jersey: 152,889

Edison may seem like an unlikely spot for boaters, but it’s home to the Raritan River, a major river in central New Jersey. The river offers public access points and has been known to be a great place for fishing.

“The Raritan River is a great resource for anyone who has an affinity for water sports, especially for canoeing and kayaking,” according to Kathy Froelich, a Redfin real estate agent in Edison. “People also like to enjoy all of the biking and hiking trails offered near the river—perfect for anyone who loves the outdoors!”

6. Atlanta, GA

  • Portion of Listings on Waterfront: 6.4%
  • Median Sale Price of a Waterfront Home: $264,900
  • Months with Average High Temperature of 60+: 9
  • Total Number of Registered Boats in Georgia: 321,740

Atlanta might seem like an unlikely contender for this list but it is surrounded by a variety of water hotspots, including Lake Lanier, Lake Allatoona and Lake Oconee. All three of these lakes are great for water activities such as boating, fishing and wakeboarding. Wake surfing is another great water activity, which is the newest and fastest growing watersport trend according to Discover Boating. It’s basically surfing behind a boat which is also very popular on these three major lakes.

“Atlanta is landlocked, so people like to take advantage of the Lakes in the area to get their fix of water activities like fishing and kayaking,” said Adrian Smith, a Redfin real estate agent in Atlanta.

7. Hampton Roads, VA

  • Portion of Listings on Waterfront: 11.2%
  • Median Sale Price of a Waterfront Home: $335,000
  • Months with Average High Temperature of 60+: 9
  • Total Number of Registered Boats in Virginia: 236,521

Hampton Roads is the name of the city, but it’s also the name of the body of water surrounding the city, which is why it makes for a great area for boaters! There is an endless list of activities for people who love to be on the water.

“Between the James River, Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean, there is no shortage of waterfront in Hampton Roads,” according to Warren Teller, a Redfin real estate agent in Hampton Roads.  “Sailing, surfing, windsurfing and jet skiing are just a few popular water sports in this city. Fishing is also a huge sport for locals and the diving is incredible!”

8. Chicago, IL

  • Portion of Listings on Waterfront: 4.9%
  • Median Sale Price of a Waterfront Home: $295,000
  • Months with Average High Temperature of 60+: 7
  • Total Number of Registered Boats in Illinois: 274,906

Chicago took the eighth place on this list for a second year in a row. The only thing from preventing this city from being closer to first place is the cold weather months. During the summertime, locals have plenty of lakes to choose from, including the fifth-largest in the world, Lake Michigan.

“Chicago has a lot of waterfront property and places to boat between the Chain O’ Lakes and Lake Michigan,” said Glenn Rickel, a Redfin real estate agent in Chicago. “People are definitely willing to pay a bit more money to live in a home on the waterfront, despite the fact that the boating season is so short. People will usually keep their boats in storage for the wintertime. Smaller boats are usually kept in a garage.”

9. Boston, MA

  • Portion of Listings on Waterfront: 4.5%
  • Median Sale Price of a Waterfront Home: $424,550
  • Months with Average High Temperature of 60+: 6
  • Total Number of Registered Boats in Massachusetts: 135,750

Boston has an enormous amount of waterfront action, including nearly 40 miles of pedestrian paths and bike-friendly roads along the Harborwalk. Boston is not just a great city for boaters and sailors, the Charles River also attracts crew fans. In fact, The Head Of The Charles Regatta is a crew event that attracts hundreds of thousands of rowers to the Charles River each year.

“The Charles River attracts a lot of people who are into crew and sailing,” said Katie Gustafson, a Redfin real estate agent in Boston. “The whole Seaport District is based around crew. There are also a lot of cruise ships that come in and out of the port, so that area is always busy. People definitely want to be near the action, which is near the water.” Boston is also home to Harbor Islands, a national park you can only get to by boat!

10. Seattle, WA

  • Portion of Listings on Waterfront: 3.5%
  • Median Sale Price of a Waterfront Home: $549,950
  • Months with Average High Temperature of 60+: 7
  • Total Number of Registered Boats in Washington: 226,662

The wet weather doesn’t rain on any boater’s parade in Seattle. Many neighborhoods in this city are within walking distance to a lake or Puget Sound, making it a great city for anyone who loves to be near the water. People love the waterfront homes, and you’ll even see houseboats, which are literally floating houses!

“There are plenty of waterways and lakes where people can go to kayak, jet ski, kiteboard, paddleboard… pretty much anything you could want to do on the water!” said Allie Howard, a Redfin real estate agent in Seattle.  “There are a lot of homes with access to water within just a few minutes. Residents also love to go out on the water to celebrate events like Seafair and Fourth of July. Seattle is a great place for any urban dweller with the desire to be near the water!”

Helpful Hint: To find homes for sale on the waterfront in your area, search for your city on Redfin.com, select the “more options” link and then check the “waterfront” box. That will narrow down the search results to homes on the water.

Methodology

Redfin data scientists evaluated 35 major metropolitan areas for this report. To find the percentage of waterfront property in each region, they looked at home sales from July 2011 through June 2015, and compared the number of waterfront listings with the number of listings not on the water. They also pulled sales information during that timeframe to find the median sale price of waterfront homes. Discover Boating, a public awareness effort managed by the National Marine Manufacturers Association, provided the data on 2015 boat sales registrations by state. We also collected information on the mean temperatures per month from The Weather Channel. Each of these elements was given a score of 1-10 and then the cities were ranked based on an average of that score.

Whether you’re curious about boat ownership or looking to test the waters, visit DiscoverBoating.com for ways to get on the water near you. Did your city make the list? Tell us where you enjoy boating on Facebook, Twitter, or in the comments below.

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